Are Birthing Centers Part of the Answer to Rising Health Care Costs?

Posted on Feb 26, 2013 by 2 Comments
Are Birthing Centers Part of the Answer to Rising Health Care Costs?

A recent article on the Time website explores the idea of curbing some of the rising costs of healthcare through increased use of midwives and birth centers.

A study conducted by the American Association of Birth Centers concluded that if more women delivered their babies at birth centers, the C-section rate would drop considerably. In fact, the study tracked over 15,000 births and concluded that midwives save the health care system $30 million in facility fees alone.

Currently, both the number of cesarean births and the cost of health care is on the rise.  Because of the threat of malpractice and the high cost of insurance, obstetricians are more likely to choose a C-section rather than take a more conservative wait and see position.

In a society where everyone’s schedule is full, both patients and doctors are more likely to schedule a cesarean for convenience.

Although the use of birth centers and midwives is increasing, it is still not widespread in the United States. Only about 1 percent of the population use midwifery as their birth option.

Most people are concerned with either pain relief or complications when they choose a hospital over a midwife.

According to the study, less than 2% of midwife assisted births had complications requiring transport to a hospital. Both the rate of complications and the rate of mortality among babies during labor and delivery were comparable to the percentages found in hospitals.

I had hospital births with my first two, and midwife assisted home births for my last six babies. My oldest daughter also used my midwife for her three children, opting to use the birthing center rather than giving birth at home.

Having experienced labor and delivery in the hospital and at home, I can say with confidence that the home births were much more relaxed and pleasant.

The cost of a midwife is much less on average than the cost of an obstetrician and a hospital birth. They will normally only take low risk patients – but about 85% of pregnancies are considered low risk.

I found the care that I got from my midwife to be much more personal than with my obstetrician. My prenatal visits were relaxed and there was no rush to get me out the door because there was another patient waiting. She answered questions, listened to me gripe about my swollen feet, and nurtured me throughout the pregnancy and birth.

After six births and supporting me through one miscarriage, she and I got to know each other quite well and I count her among my friends to this day. We keep up on Facebook.

Someone once asked me about how pain was managed during labor and delivery. I can tell you that having a baby is painful whether you have an epidural or not. All of mine were large, between nine and eleven pounds, plus assorted ounces.

Pushing a baby out of your vagina is not a walk in the park and the added interference of machines, unnecessary internal exams, medications, and such just makes it worse. I found that with the more relaxed process of home birth, my pain was easier to manage and I had the freedom to change position or walk around as much as I needed to.

Of course it is a decision everyone needs to make for themselves, but with the economy stretching budgets to the breaking point, and health care costs through the roof, using a midwife at a birth center or at home may be an option to consider more seriously.

source: Time Health and Family

photo credit: eyeliam via photopin cc

Posted in: Maternity
Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. As a work at home mom she has a unique perspective that encompasses the overwhelming deadlines and commitments of the professional woman as well as the constantly changing needs of a homeschooling mom with a large family. She is the author of one cook book and the creator of Restless Chipotle Media, a network consisting of two food based blogs, a blog for “women of a certain age”, a video site on Youtube, and upcoming blog on kitchen decor, and downloadable eBooks. Marye also is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer.

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    I had a regular hospital birth for my first (horrible), a certified nurse midwife delivery at a hospital for my second child (marginally better), and finally midwife delivery at my home for my third child. I would definitely encourage anyone having with a low-risk pregnancy to consider home birth, especially if you have already had an uncomplicated delivery previously. It was wonderful and it was such a blessing to have my family around me during/after delivery. I felt home delivery was such a blessing, I strongly considered becoming a doula for a long time.

  • marye

    I loved being more relaxed – and I totally agree.